State of the Union? I’ll Show You Some State of the Union… and of the World.


Just a few headlines from around the internet recently. With stories like this, who gives a f*ck what Barack Obama has to say. Open thread.

Richest are getting richer: 1% will own more than all the rest — by next year (Oxfam International)

If current trends continue, the richest one percent of people on our planet will own more global wealth than the remaining world population in 2016. Such extreme inequality will not only stall the fight against poverty, but could also stymie economic growth.

The US Military’s Stunning Conspiracy Theory Emerges From The Archives: “ISIS Leader Does Not Exist” (ZeroHedge)

Having noted that voter angst has been riled, propagandized, and fear-mongered to the point at which the most pressing priority for Congress is to ‘fix’ terrorism, it is perhaps not entirely surprising that we discover – deep down in the archives – that giving the public someone to ‘hate’ as opposed to something may have been an entire fiction. As The New York Times exposed in 2007Abdullah Rashid al-Baghdadi, the titular head of the Islamic State, according to Brigadier General Kevin Bergner – the chief American military spokesman at the time – never existed (and was actually a fictional character whose audio-taped declarations were provided by an elderly actor named Abu Adullah al-Naima).

Peculiarities of Russian National Character (ClubOrlov)

Recent events, such as the overthrow of the government in Ukraine, the secession of Crimea and its decision to join the Russian Federation, the subsequent military campaign against civilians in Eastern Ukraine, western sanctions against Russia, and, most recently, the attack on the ruble, have caused a certain phase transition to occur within Russian society, which, I believe, is very poorly, if at all, understood in the west. This lack of understanding puts Europe at a significant disadvantage in being able to negotiate an end to this crisis.

Whereas prior to these events the Russians were rather content to consider themselves “just another European country,” they have now remembered that they are a distinct civilization, with different civilizational roots (Byzantium rather than Rome)—one that has been subject to concerted western efforts to destroy it once or twice a century, be it by Sweden, Poland, France, Germany, or some combination of the above. This has conditioned the Russian character in a specific set of ways which, if not adequately understood, is likely to lead to disaster for Europe and the world.

How Propaganda Conquers Democracy (ConsortiumNews)

Do we live in a country where citizens are critically informed on the issues of the day by media that operate independently of the government? Or do our political leaders deliberately plant a false view of events and issues in the mind of the public that complicit media then broadcast and amplify to generate public consent for government policy?

This is a basic test of democracy for the citizens of any country. But the very nature of modern propaganda systems is that they masquerade as independent while functioning as the opposite, so the question is not as straightforward as it seems.

Ruin Is Our Future (Paul Craig Roberts)

Neoconservatives arrayed in their Washington offices are congratulating themselves on their success in using the Charlie Hebdo affair to reunite Europe with Washington’s foreign policy. No more French votes with the Palestinians against the Washington-Israeli position. No more growing European sympathy with the Palestinians. No more growing European opposition to launching new wars in the Middle East. No more calls from the French president to end the sanctions against Russia. 

Do the neoconservatives also understand that they have united Europeans with the right-wing anti-immigration political parties? The wave of support for the Charlie Hebdo cartoonists is the wave of Marine Le Pen’s National Front, Nigel Farage’s UK Independence Party, and Germany’s PEGIDA sweeping over Europe. These parties are empowered by the anti-immigration fervor that was orchestrated in order to reunite Europeans with Washington and Israel.

Once again the arrogant and insolent neoconservatives have blundered. Charlie Hebdo’s empowerment of the anti-immigration parties has the potential to revolutionize European politics and destroy Washington’s empire.

2014: Hottest Year in Recorded Human History (WunderGround)

Earth had its warmest year on record in 2014, said NOAA and NASA at a joint press conference today.According to NOAA’s National Climatic Data Center, global surface temperatures in 2014 were 1.24°F (0.69°C) above the 20th century average, highest among all years in the 1880-2014 record, easily breaking the previous records of 2005 and 2010 by 0.07°F (0.04°C). Using independent measurement techniques but mostly the same set of surface stations, NASA also rated 2014 as the warmest year on record, as did the Japan Meteorological Agency (JMA).

And that’s just skimming my news feed…

  1. One thing I learned from Charlie Hebdo: French citizens are as dumb as Americans. They ate it up. It was quite discouraging, also, to see the terrorist Netanyahu standing there holding hands with others in fake mourning. This is a grotesque world.

    I notice is that on TV and in movies that journalists are always tough and smart confrontational people, and FBI agents are always straightforward and honest crime fighters. It appears those two illusions are very important to the order of our society. They keep us believing the myths.

  2. Steve W

    The TV show “Law and Order” is great propaganda and totally conditions how people think about law enforcement just like Joe Friday and “Dragnet” did before.

    People don’t easily discern between fictional situations and real life as long as the story is good and interesting.

  3. evdebs

    ISIL definitely is not headed by a fictional commander:

    • I don’t rely on Wikipedia for anything beyond entertainment and geography. It’s too easily fiddled with by back door creatures. If al-Baghdad, like ISIS itself, is a CIA creation (as evidence seems to indicate), Wiki will not be the source to set us straight.

  4. “The Nasa climate scientists who claimed 2014 set a new record for global warmth last night admitted they were only 38 per cent sure this was true.
    In a press release on Friday, Nasa’s Goddard Institute for Space Studies (GISS) claimed its analysis of world temperatures showed ‘2014 was the warmest year on record’.
    The claim made headlines around the world, but yesterday it emerged that GISS’s analysis – based on readings from more than 3,000 measuring stations worldwide – is subject to a margin of error. Nasa admits this means it is far from certain that 2014 set a record at all.
    Yet the Nasa press release failed to mention this, as well as the fact that the alleged ‘record’ amounted to an increase over 2010, the previous ‘warmest year’, of just two-hundredths of a degree – or 0.02C. The margin of error is said by scientists to be approximately 0.1C – several times as much.”

    Read more:
    Follow us: @MailOnline on Twitter | DailyMail on Facebook

    Then again it’s January and the grant applications are in the mail.

  5. steve kelly

    “Are Plunging Petrodollar Revenues Behind the Fed’s Projected Rate Hikes?”

    “…the Fed needs to find an alternate source of capital to keep the markets bubbly and to shore up the greenback”

    By Mike Whitney

    Isn’t this where the military-security-industrial complex just starts another major war? Cycles of war, failed economies, and neocon wet dreams.

    And what the hell is a “Middle-Class Economy?”

    Never should have watched that speech.

    • JC

      I couldn’t watch it. When I looked at a few lines of the transcript, all I want to do is point out the lies, propaganda and disinformation and yell at the computer.

      As to WWIII, somewhere I read that in lieu of WWIII, we’re getting QE, and the EU is next to jump on the money printing express. Actually, I think that QE is just the opening volley in the next war, as it will not appease the peons — it’ll only aggravated the huddled masses.

  6. RE: Rich getting richer.

    Timber industry jobs are middle income jobs, coal industry jobs, pipeline line construction jobs, refinery jobs, manufacturing jobs (which have gone overseas because of our highest corporate tax rate), north shore Alaskan oil development jobs, Gulf of Mexico offshore oil platform jobs, new construction railroad jobs.

    Imagine if all these were in place and the additional jobs that they would create.

    • Swede, if you believe that corporations have gone overseas for any other reasons than to pay lower wages and escape environmental regulations, I have a bridge spanning the East River I want to sell you.

      • “Inversion” is the new thing.

        “Yes, leaving the country–a process that tax techies call inversion–is perfectly legal. A company does this by reincorporating in a place like Ireland, where the corporate tax rate is 12.5%, compared with 35% in the U.S. Inversion also makes it easier to divert what would normally be U.S. earnings to foreign, lower-tax locales. But being legal isn’t the same as being right. If a few companies invert, it’s irritating but no big deal for our society. But mass inversion is a whole other thing, and that’s where we’re heading.”-Fortune.

        Estimated to be as high as $20B loss in taxes by 2024. I can provide you a link if needed?

        • 35% tax is OK by me, as it is what I pay, and note, corporations do not pass it on to consumers. That’s drivel.

          We need a system wherein we are masters of our creations, these corporations, and force them to stay at home, man up,and pay their damned taxes. The whiners. The weenies.

          They are not paying near that. You know that, right? If you don’t, you’re listening to the wrong talk shows.

  7. RE: SOTU speech.

    Here’s an interesting site.

    Included is the President’s speech to the left. To the right is an graph telling you how many times any given word is mentioned from the address. As a bonus you get to see how many times that word(s) were mentioned in past SOTU speeches.

    • Side note.

      I highlighted the words “middle-class”. Interesting to note that Obama has been the only Pres. to mention the word. What a coincidence, the middle class has been hammered under his rein and yet he supports more carnage.

  8. Turner

    I see one of the sources cited approvingly here refers to the “supposed killing of Osama bin laden.” The source implies (maybe states — I read it quickly) that anyone accepting the killing of Osama is weak-minded, a dupe.

    Have there been sightings of Osama? Was he with Elvis?

    • JC

      Why do you believe the “official” story? There has been no evidence offered, that what has been described as the admin and the media’s “official story”, to take the story out of the “supposed” category.

      Facts reign, Turner. And where are the facts on the bin Laden “killing?” Habeas corpus. Show me the body.

      • Turner

        It’s not just “the media’s official story.” Numerous witnesses to his death, including the man in Butte who is taking credit for it, have come forward. The Pakistani government was furious about his being killed. Why were they angry if it didn’t happen? Or are they in on the conspiracy?

        JC, you can live in Opposite World only for so long before they take you away. Seriously, I’m worried about you.

        • JC

          Turner, the witnesses have books to sell, money to make, egos to stroke. I never said that somebody didn’t get killed in Pakistan, or that an op may not have happened. I just haven’t seen any proof that it was bin Laden, and lots of evidence to the contrary.

          And of course the Pakistani government is pissed. They’ve been pissed ever since we started running drone strikes and covert ops in Pakistan, and killing civilians. This “event” garnered so much press, that if the Pakistani government didn’t lambast it, the president would get “Bhutto’d” out of office.

          Again, Habeas corpus. Show me the body.

          That’s the very basic tenet of American jurisprudence, going back nearly 400 years in Europe. It just goes to show how far ordinary Americans have been shuffled off into lala land, never questioning the actions of their government.

          I grew up in a Cold War era military family, where I was taught that everybody was suspect, even the president. And that nothing was as it seemed on the surface. My father died 5 years after 9/11 as a decorated military veteran, WWII bomber pilot, and not believing the “official” story. If nothing else in his last years, he taught me to question what appears on the surface, to always dig deep, take much with a grain of salt, and listen to opposing viewpoints.

      • Turner, that was me above. Please stop and think: No body, no photos. DNA evidence “in-house” and not credible. Suspicious helicopter crash on the night of the incident, and later another helicopter crash killing many Team Six members. It all adds up to foul play. In addition, Osama was known to be suffering from kidney disease and we have two Pakistani officials, president Pervez Musharraf and the late Benazir Bhutto, who both claimed that Osama bin Laden died in 2001 in Afghanistan. We know that bin Laden received treatment for his kidney disease in an American hospital in Dubai in July of 2001.

        Given that, “eyewitness” statements by people who are supposedly sworn to silence regarding covert ops are not credible. Eyewitness statements coupled with physical evidence, more believable, but in this land where anyone can be made to say anything, not credible.

        Without physical evidence, skepticism is the order of the day.

    • Steve W

      Turner, what you choose to believe or disbelieve is entirely up to you.

      But i would ask you, “Why do you believe what you believe?”

      By the way, what source was that from? I haven’t read any of them.

      I have no way of knowing if Osama is alive or dead, and I have no way of knowing that if he’s dead, when he died.

      Do you have a way of knowing?

      i suppose you (or I ) could just take our government at their word. But why?

      • Turner

        I don’t have time to carefully screen every piece of data I have to process in my daily life, I tend to take some things at face value — like weather reports and obit columns. I’m more skeptical about reports that have political implications, which doesn’t mean I automatically reject them because they tend to advantage a political side I happen not to like.

        But to reject an account of events coming from the Obama administration, even if it is backed up by neutral observers, just because you hate Obama and think everything coming from his administration must be a lie puts you in the came camp with right-wingers who reject climate science because it’s promoted by federal agencies connected with, you know, that black guy.

        I try not to be a “believer” of any kind. But I don’t reject accounts simply because I hate the source.

        • You answered a question that was not asked. No one claimed to hate Obama (I regard him as a mere figurehead, like all before him since 1963), and climate science is anybody’s guess.

          I put up solid evidence that should create doubt that Osama bin Laden was killed in May of 2011. There’s more. I won’t trouble you with it.

          What you are saying is that you trust Obama. I only remind you that belief without evidence is the definition of religious faith. It has no place in politics and affairs of state.

          • Turner

            You can quote me, but please don’t tell me what I’m saying. I consider Obama a politician capable of shading the truth occasionally to advance his agenda (some of which I don’t agree with). Most of his agenda is worth pursuing.

            Your “solid evidence” that OBL wasn’t killed on May 1, 2011 is the same evidence Alex Jones uses. You know, he’s the guy who thinks the killing of Connecticut school children was a hoax and that the Oklahoma City bombing was done by the U.S. government.

            I wonder what you think of Robert O’Neill of Butte who claims to have shot OBL during the raid. Is he lying? Would he dare lie when others in the raid could so easily contradict him?

          • Turner, you seem incapable of evaluation of evidence on its face, and instead turn to sneers and insults. So I will repeat something I said to Swede earlier, that your inability or unwillingness ton confront and evaluate evidence using your brain, instead basing your opinion on faith in various authority figures, is a sign of mental weakness. You eitehr lack the confidence or ability to think for yourself.

            I do not truck with Alex Jones. He is put there for a purpose, but truth is not part of his game.

        • Steve W

          I don’t hate Obama. I worked hard to get him the nomination win here in Montana and I worked to get him past McCain here in Montana. He lost by just under 2% as I recall. I always knew it was an uphill battle. I knocked hundreds of doors. I gave him money. I took my three kids to see him at the Adams center and my 2 daughters got to shake his hand.

          What gives you the impression I hate Obama? I don’t believe I’ve ever felt or wrote that, so I’m a little confused about your assumptions about me.

          Are you crazy?

  1. 1 Life in These United States: Use of critical thinking skills = “having a conspiracy theory” | Piece Of Mind

    […] over at 4&20 cites the following from Paul Craig Roberts: Neoconservatives arrayed in their Washington offices […]

  2. 2 The New McCarthyism: “Opposite World” | 4&20 blackbirds

    […] It seems that if one strays beyond the bounds of what some consider to be “conventional wisdom” or CW, that one can be branded mentally ill. I was a bit surprised to read this from Turner about me, in a comment to a post I wrote yesterday: […]

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